Today marks the ninth anniversary of the day I became an Archibald. Nine years Leah Archibald, without a middle name. Like the way I made that completely about me? A description of my wedding day? It demonstrates how open and loving I've been feeling lately.
The first week in September is a lovely time to get married, but a crappy time to celebrate your anniversary. At least it's a crappy time if you have kids or happen to be married to a teacher. By the end of August, even though I love my family, I am a little fed up with summer family time. A million times a day, in million-degree heat, we five people of divergent needs and poor communication skills have to decide together whether we're going to the beach and what to bring to eat. By the end of August I don't want to talk anymore to anyone. I want to schedule pizza deliveries to my house three times a day and everyone can eat all they want on the condition they do so in complete silence.
By the end of summer I am no longer the wife of Dan's youth. I am the contentious woman from Proverbs who is like a dripping roof on a rainy day. Drip drip 'I thought it was your turn to clean the kitchen' drip.
Which is why come September 4th we look at each other and think, "Celebrate our marriage? Nah, I'd rather look at shit on the computer." October will be wonderful and full of love but right now we're not celebrating our marriage as much as we are surviving it.
The unfortunate truth is that my relationship with Dan is a mirror of my relationship with God. If I'm performing poorly in one of them you'd better believe the other one is shot.
Sometimes the source is 'unforgiveness,' which is a polite way to describe my complete and utter lack of willingness to let things go when my spouse or the universe doesn't immediately bend to my will. Didn't wash the jam pot when he said he would? Obviously I'm worth no more than a maid to him. Never got the daughter I was praying for? Maybe it's some mysterious mercy or maybe God doesn't give a shit about my prayers.
How do you know? How do you know if your husband just got distracted or if you're terrifyingly alone in the universe?
This is me on my wedding day. I thought I had it all under control. I thought marriage began and ended with ME.
On the morning of our wedding I kicked Dan out of the house. Maybe I wanted to create some momentary fiction that we weren't living together already. Maybe I just wanted to get dressed in private. Either way, I subtly sent the message that my image was more important than our togetherness. Poor Dan had to drive to his parent's house at six in the morning, and since no one was awake yet he sat on the steps and read the paper.
No wonder when I walked down the aisle to him, he didn't whisper "I love you so much" or "I've waited for this forever," He said more truthfully, "You're wearing a lot of makeup!"
It's true. I WAS wearing a lot of makeup.
Impecable makeup. Centerpieces out of Martha Stewart Weddings. It was the most wonderful day of my life because it was the last day I completely controlled.
After that? Every day didn't belong to me, it existed within the context of a relationship. Everything, for better ir for worse, became shared.
In the same way God shares my internal space. Nothing I think or do is free from the question, "is this pissing him off?" When I'm not sure he has my best interests at heart, I also want school to start in my relationship with God so he can maybe go away and ask stuff of better, gooder Christians.
And yet I know that this is life now, and it's never going to reach this level of fake perfect.
Because sugar flowers ain't real, and they'll just give me a toothache now.
So we persevere 9 years in, because this is who we are. Archibalds. Because being married means you never get kicked out of the house again.